Focus on Environmental Improvements reaps rewards for Young's in Grimsby

October 5, 2010 10:59

A sustained focus on environmental improvement in manufacturing at Young's in Grimsby has notched up some significant milestones, not least the fact that the business is now producing 16% less CO2 per tonne of production than it was two years ago (1), reports with reference to Young's.

In 2008 the business launched a comprehensive new action plan to tackle every aspect of environmental performance in Young's factory operations. To date this has already achieved striking reductions in water and energy use as well as putting the operation on course to beat its own target of zero packaging and food waste to landfill by the end of 2012 - with 99% of waste already being recycled or reused.

This focus on operational improvement reflects the broader "Food for Life " (2) environmental approach adopted for all European operations of the Findus Group (Young's parent company) and which also includes the award-winning ‘Fish for Life ' (3) programme for seafood sustainability.

Key achievements in Grimsby to date include (measured against 2007 as a base year)

  • Water consumption reduced by 30%
  • Reduction in electricity use of 7 %
  • Reduction in use of gas by 5%
• Reduction of 16% in CO² per tonne of production

Each individual achievement has been brought about by a combination of diligent management, tight process control and the implementation of new procedures. Environmental teams in the factories drive continuous improvement and provide dedicated resources to ensure that best practice, strategic focus and knowledge are shared between manufacturing units. The carbon footprint of the operation is measured on a monthly basis against tough reduction targets and progress reviewed by senior management via quarterly reviews and an annual report.

One simple illustration of the success of this structured approach has been in the area of lighting. Starting last year, a review of every aspect of operational lighting resulted in the installation of energy efficient tubes and lamps plus passive detection systems to turn off lighting when not required. This simple but thorough program is on its own expected to produce a CO² reduction of 300 tonnes per annum for the business.

Young's was also one of 13 original signatories to the FDF House Commitment which calls for producers to contribute to a combined sector saving of 20% in water use by 2020. By diligently reviewing and improving every aspect of water use in its factories, Young's has already exceeded even its own expectations and achieved a reduction in consumption of 30% since 2007 - equivalent to nearly 152,000 cubic meter of water saved per annum.

Steve Lidgett, operations director for Young's in Grimsby says, "Our environmental action plan shows quite clearly what it is possible to achieve just by setting tough targets and being systematic about how you intend to reach them. Most of our big achievements so far are the cumulative result of many hundreds of small systematic improvements - added together they have already given Young's a much greener operational profile."

(1) C02 reduction data reviewed by Enviros and validated by the Carbon Trust.

(2) Food for Life is the Findus Group's business-wide programme to manage its social, environmental and ethical responsibilities framed in a series of clear commitments. It also incorporates the Fish for Life programme on sustainable seafood.

(3) Fish for Life is a programme by Young's and Findus to drive seafood sustainability which in June this year was announced as overall winner in the ‘Management' category of the EU's European Business Awards for the Environment (see ).

Established in 2006, FFL brings together fisheries, procurement, technical, product development and communications specialists to drive business policy and action in fish sustainability. Its guiding principles are outlined in the company's ‘Ten Principles for Responsible Fish Procurement' - detailing the responsible sourcing approach, industry dialogue, product development, marketing and campaigning activity which form the backbone of FFL. The initiative is now established as an industry benchmark for sustainable sourcing, working in partnership with fisheries and suppliers and having a positive impact on the whole supply chain - from fishing companies through to supermarkets. As an on-pack label for the Young's and Findus brands, FFL is also an important reassurance to consumers that they can eat more fish, since it has been sourced in a responsible way.

Some specific achievements of FFL so far include: MSC certification for the Stornoway langoustine fishery; intervention in the Baltic Sea cod fishery to encourage better regulation and contribution to scientific knowledge by sponsoring research - benefiting the whole industry.

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